• neocortex;
  • teeth;
  • S1;
  • S2;
  • VPM


We investigated the distribution of cortical, callosal, and thalamic connections from the primary somatosensory area (S1) in naked mole-rats, concentrating on lower incisor and forelimb representations. A neuronal tracer (WGA-HRP) was injected into the center of each respective representation under guidance from microelectrode recordings of neuronal activity. The locations of cells and terminals were determined by aligning plots of labeled cells with flattened cortical sections reacted for cytochrome oxidase. The S1 lower incisor area was found to have locally confined intrahemispheric connections and longer connections to a small cluster of cells in the presumptive secondary somatosensory (S2) and parietal ventral (PV) incisor fields. The S1 incisor area also had sparse connections with anterior cortex, in presumptive primary motor cortex. Homotopic callosal projections were identified between the S1 lower incisor areas in each hemisphere. Thalamocortical connections related to the incisor were confined to ventromedial portions of the ventral posterior medial subnucleus (VPM) and posterior medial nucleus (Po). Injections into the S1 forelimb area revealed reciprocal intrahemispheric connections to S2 and PV, to two areas in frontal cortex, and to two areas posterior to S1 that appear homologous to posterior lateral area and posterior medial area in rats. The S1 forelimb representation also had callosal projections to the contralateral S1 limb area and to contralateral S2 and PV. Thalamic distribution of label from forelimb injections included ventral portions of the ventral posterior lateral subnucleus (VPL), dorsolateral Po, the ventral lateral nucleus, and the ventral medial nucleus and neighboring intralaminar nuclei. Anat Rec Part A 288A:626–645, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.